>> reporter: if they weren't coming in on fumes, they were coming in empty. snaked around block after block after block, hundreds of cars idled, inching towards the gas station. in fact, you needed a helicopter to see just how long the lines actually were. >> the line is going all the way around. >> reporter: from northern new jersey, south to philadelphia, east to long island, and as far west as pennsylvania, people were on the hunt for gas. >> we've been in line for two and a half hours. >> reporter: in some areas, police were deployed to maintain order. those looking to fill up their tanks or their gas cans waited and waited. >> they don't have gas. >> reporter: in new york city, 50% to 70% of stations are just not able to sell any fuel. no power, no pumping. in new jersey, that number climbed to 80%. before the hurricane hit, five refineries along the east coast were shut down or forced to work at a reduced capacity.